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Maintain Good Posture While Teaching from Home

Like millions of U.S. workers, Massachusetts educators are now teaching from home. Using distance-learning platforms, you’re working hard to keep your students on track during the COVID-19 pandemic, while preserving the health of all concerned.

Social distancing is a big part of staying healthy today … but so is maintaining good posture. Now that you’re working from home, you may be sitting more – in an improperly adjusted chair – while staring at a computer screen set to the wrong height. Poor ergonomics can result in bad posture, which produces injuries, stress and lower productivity.

Teaching While Home Doesn’t Have to be Back-Breaking

You can prevent these problems by ergonomically optimizing your workspace. Given that May is Posture Month, there’s really no better time to do so. Upgrading and/or adjusting your equipment and installing it properly can help you maintain proper posture. This will make teaching from home more enjoyable, productive and promoting of long-term health.

Ergonomics is all about positioning the human body properly so it can work with less strain.  It may involve purchasing a couple of ergonomic products such as keyboards and computer mice. To correct your posture with ergonomics, focus on how various parts of your body interact with your office equipment. Here are some steps to take during Posture Month:

Your eyes: Make sure your computer screen is approximately an arm’s length away.  Then position the top of the screen with your sight line.  If possible, move the screen to minimize shadows and glare.  A quick, inexpensive, and convenient low-tech approach is to raise your laptop with books so the screen is at the correct height; a medium-tech fix is buying a Z-shaped laptop riser that you can adjust to various heights.

Your neck, shoulders, and back: Pain in these areas normally comes from not having the right chair or from adjusting it improperly. Your office chair should provide for firm back and lumbar support. The seat back should also adjust so you can sit at a 100-degree reclining angle, or as close to that as possible. The height should adjust, too, so you don’t have to tilt your head up to see the screen, which will stress your neck

Your elbows, wrists and fingers: Adjust your chair height to allow for a gradual decline from your elbows to your wrists and then your fingers. Also, make sure your wrists are relatively level, not tilted up or down.

Your legs: Set your chair so your feet are flat on the floor and your knees are at roughly a 90-degree angle. Make sure your knees don’t drop too far as it will put extra stress on your lower back.

Making these posture enhancements will help you work from home comfortably. The MTA Benefits Office Depot/OfficeMax discount program can ensure you get all the equipment you need to protect your posture without paying full price.

Happy Posture Month!